Credit reports are a vital component of our financial profile, enabling consumers to get the best interest rates on mortgages, auto loans and credit cards.
But have you closely scanned your credit reports lately from the three bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion? You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies.
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers some valuable tips on what errors to look for. Here is an overview:
Mistakes regarding your identity information (wrong name, phone number, address) are obvious. But also look for accounts belonging to another person with the same or a similar name as yours. This is more common than you may realized. Moreover, incorrect accounts can be a result of identity theft. Also make sure that every account has a correct status, “closed” or “active” or “pays on time.”
Closed accounts reported as open:
Accounts that are incorrectly reported as late or delinquent can greatly reduce your credit score. Also look for errors in the date of last payment, date opened, or date of first delinquency. The same debt could be listed more than once (possibly with different names)
Data management errors:
Look for the reposting of incorrect information after it was supposedly corrected. This includes accounts that appear multiple times with different creditors listed (especially in the case of delinquent accounts or accounts in collections)
Review for accounts with an incorrect current balance, and accounts with an incorrect credit limit.
The CFPB says that f you find errors, you should contact the credit reporting company who sent you the report, and the creditor or company that provided the information (called the furnisher of the information). Your credit report includes directions about how to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information or use our sample dispute letters.